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Proverbs are words of wisdom or simple home truths expressed in a sentence…often metaphoric in nature. They basically deal with dictates on the disciplined and proper conduct of one’s life.
The study of Proverbs is called Paremiology and the origin of proverbs can be traced as far as the times of the great Philosopher Aristotle. But the authors of most of the proverbs are unknown.
Brevity is typically the soul of proverbs - a factor that makes it punchy and effective in driving across an intense truth. They are also easily remembered because of this. Although advisory in nature they do not tend to preach. Being simple and precise, sans flowery language, they are easily accepted by all people, immaterial of their religion, sex, race or nationality.
Every language has its own sets of proverbs, owing their origin to literary works or religious books. Proverbs in English are more in common use today. However some proverbs from other languages are still popular and used many a times by all people. Many authors and the story-tellers use the provers quite often to emphasis their points and perceptions. The political orators as well as the religious preachers use the proverbs from their respective religions to make their points strong and convincing.
CAVEAT EMPTOR (Latin) is more popular than LET THE BUYER BEWARE.
IN VINO VERITAS (Latin) is more popular than IN WINE THERE IS TRUTH.
PER ARDUA AD ASTRA (Latin) is more popular than THROUGH HARDSHIP TO THE STARS.
Many of the English proverbs can be traced back to the Bible from where they seem to have originated. Some examples of proverbs that have been taken from literary works are as follows.
Cowards die many times before their death. - Julius Caesar
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. - Troilus and Cressida
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. - Romeo and Juliet
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone. - The Poem SOLITUDE by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
A little learning is a dangerous thing. - Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope
Proverbs can be interpreted both literally and metaphorically too. They are particularly useful in teaching young children and help to inculcate proper manners and good habits in them very early in life.
Proverbs are also oft used by orators to make their speeches more interesting and are often the crux of elaborate discussions.